When this pandemic first started earlier in the year, I didn’t think it was a big deal. While it brought some marked changes for me and a lot of dogs, most of the changes were positive. My human was home all of the time; she took me for more walks; and she seemed to crave my companionship more than ever.

Well, those changes didn’t seem to be short-lived and have continued on for months now. It’s OK, but it’s also weird. Almost like the reality of daily life will never be exactly the same as it was. There will be permanent changes but no one is sure exactly what those changes look like.

I’m glad it can’t last forever, since as many of you know, I’m a super social pup with lots of friends who are both canine and human. I really miss my pack at the dog park and I hate going to the vet alone while my human waits outside. I miss commiserating with the mailman and accompanying my human to her friends’ houses for dinner and drinks. I also miss going to the Senior Center and assisted living centers where we used to go to provide comfort to the residents. And just recently, I really missed getting some turkey at Thanksgiving from my human’s friends! Sadly, she’s a life-long vegetarian and she only offers us fake turkey made from plants which of course, I refuse! Trust me when I tell you that I have had to adjust too.

What I do whenever I have trouble adjusting or feel sad or scared, is to remember how good I have it. There are so many dogs in shelters that would trade places with me in a heartbeat! Literally, hundreds of thousands all across the country. And tragically, many of them will lose their lives, simply because they don’t have a home to go to. And, there will also be lots of puppies that will be given away as Christmas presents, only to be abandoned in two-months’ time. It happens every year and is so sad. When I remember all this, my “bad” day doesn’t seem so bad at all. I am sure it is the same for many of you humans in that there are lots of people less fortunate who would trade places with you in a heartbeat. That is always good to remember.

Most likely, we all will encounter a new reality once this pandemic has abated, and I will embrace it. Since throughout this whole mess, I still had the love of my human, a roof over my head, and food in my bowl. It may seem simple, but we dogs like to keep it simple. I remind my human of this too, since I know she’s always worried about this virus that seemed to come out of nowhere. She’s tired of not seeing her friends and the holidays seem to make her feel worse. But, we’ll be OK, and a year from now we can have a better Christmas. And boy will we appreciate it and celebrate! So, in the meantime, I press my cold nose in the palm of her hand, and wag my tail, and then she always snaps out of her stress mode. She smiles and laughs and asks me “Benny, what would I ever do without you?”

So, this holiday season, I am sending you love and wishes for a cold nose in your hand, a wagging tail within view, and a laugh in your throat. I just know that things will get better and this holiday can still be a happy one!

With love, Benny H.

Benny H. is a 7-year-old mixed-breed dog who enjoys writing, meeting new people, and providing companionship to his loving adopter, Liz Hoffmann. They live in Connecticut. Liz has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and opening her heart to shelter animals.